Fernando Alonso believes his McLaren team is now in a position to reach Q2 after taking another step forward in practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Alonso and teammate Jenson Button had the most promising session of the season so far, with the Briton finishing 10th fastest in second practice, two places ahead of the Spaniard.
Both McLarens have been knocked out in Q1 in the two qualifying sessions so far this year, but Alonso thinks the team has now moved closer to the top.
Although he ruled out reaching the top ten, the Spaniard is optimistic about Q2.
"We don't see ourselves in Q3," Alonso said after practice.
"We were analysing the times and we know everybody uses a bit more power in qualifying and we won't be doing that, so we'll go back a bit, but Q2 is a real goal for this race.
"We are getting close to the midfield cars."
While McLaren expected its progress to slow down in China, Alonso said the team had actually being quicker than expected.
"We didn't expect to take a big step forward here but it looks like we are still on the right path, so I'm doubly happy," he added.
"I guess tomorrow will be a bit harder, but everything has gone as expected or even better."